modern autocrats

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Posted by: | Posted on: May 27, 2013

After Pol Pot: A Modern Historical Novel

Product Description

WilliamCambodia was broken open by the Cold War, a passive victim of domino theories, the Vietnam conflict and the casual brutality of global strategies. In the wake of the devastation had moved Pol Pot. Calling his work genocide missed the point, it was suicide, the Khmer Rouge had killed their own. Nearly two million dead, a fifth of the population in less than four years, amidst a senseless spiral of utopian ideology, peasant savagery and mind-numbing incompetence. After Pol Pot had been driven away, Cambodia was consumed by a fifteen year civil war funded by American and Russian rivalry. The ending of the Cold War had found Cambodia a shattered brutalised victim of a country, awash with murderers, survivors and refugees; a victim surrounded by a guilt-ridden guilty world.The book is a political novel set in modern Cambodia drawing on its recent history, the legacies of its violent past, and the guilt that threatens to drown its future.

Emily is a shy, socially clumsy English lawyer with a resentful streak, a taste for alcohol and a driving need to find some kind of direction in her life. In Cambodia where an autocratic and brutal government creates a need for human rights lawyers, she hopes to find that direction. She sees a poisoned society awash with corruption, violence and development aid. Corrupt bureaucrats, ex-murderers, traumatised genocide survivors and westernised idealists mix with a stratified western community of aid workers, missionaries and sex-tourists.
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Posted by: | Posted on: December 14, 2011

Danger of new autocrats underestimated

The new autocrats’ priority is political control: A person prepared to acknowledge the ruling group’s supremacy and follow its directives is allowed a certain amount of autonomy to operate. “Loyalists are rewarded, enemies are punished, the neutral are neglected or casually abused,” says the report…

On Cambodia, Kurlantzick writes, “members of China’s Communist Party have advised Prime Minister Hun Sen’s party on how to use laws for libel and defamation to scare the independent media, create a network of senior officials who can control major companies, and instill loyalty in special police and bodyguard forces.”

PACIFIC DAILY NEWS
Dec. 14, 2011

Danger of new autocrats underestimated

A. Gaffar Peang-Meth

Two years ago, I presented in this space a June 2009 posting in Foreign Policy Online titled “Authoritarianism’s New Wave,” about a “new class of autocrats” and their “most serious challenge” to the rules of law, human rights, and open expression. The piece was jointly written by Jennifer Windsor, Jeffrey Gedmin and Libby Liu, of Freedom House, Radio Free Europe, and Radio Free Asia, respectively.

The three organizations also published a report, “Undermining Democracy: 21st Century Authoritarians,” on the strategies and methods of five countries — China, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and Venezuela — “to impede human rights and democratic development” within and beyond their borders.

The report asserted “advocates for freedom” — democrats in those countries — receive little attention and few resources from the democratic world because the systems that persecute them “are poorly understood” and that Western “policymakers do not appear to appreciate the dangers these 21st century models pose to democracy and rule of law around the world.”

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